AFib: 5 outdoor exercise ideas!

Diet and Fitness


Even with atrial fibrillation, you can enjoy exercising in the great outdoors! Staying active is important for your health. Physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week can:

  • help you live longer
  • help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease (including atrial fibrillation), diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, osteoporosis, and stroke
  • improve your overall health, even if you already have atrial fibrillation
  • help you improve your strength and fitness
  • help you maintain mental health and independence

Consult your doctor before you start exercising and ask about the amount and type of physical activity that's right for you. They may ask you to complete an electrocardiogram or stress test to see how much activity your heart can handle safely.

Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor, give these outdoor exercises a try.

Brisk walking around your neighbourhood. Walking briskly is great moderate-intensity exercise, and taking it outdoors is a great way to get to know your neighbours and community better! If you're up for it, go for a jog for a more vigorous workout.

Gardening. Whether you've just discovered an interest in growing your own tomatoes or you've had a green thumb all your life, gardening is a great way to get some exercise. Digging in the garden can help strengthen your muscles.

Playing hide-and-seek. When's the last time you played hide-and-seek? Get your children and grandchildren together for a family day of activity. Invite some friends, too, and head over to the park with a picnic lunch and spend an afternoon of active time together. This is also a great way to get your family and friends physically active!

Golfing. Although many people think golf is a leisurely sport, golf can actually provide a good workout. Most of the exercise comes from walking the fairways, not from the actual swinging of the club. When golfing, make sure you take lessons so that you have good technique to help protect against injuries.

Charity events. Training for and participating in these events can be rewarding. They help charities raise money and awareness for their cause. Take your pick! Events usually involve running or walking, but there are also other events such as biking and golf tournaments.

With an active lifestyle, you also have to eat healthy. Try these tips for healthy eating while staying active:

  • Drink water before, during, and after exercising. If you feel hungry after exercising, it may actually be thirst due to fluid loss. Being dehydrated can worsen your AFib, especially in hot weather. Rather than eating calorie-rich energy bars, try drinking plenty of water and waiting for half an hour. If you are still hungry, eat something healthy such as an apple or orange. If your doctor has asked you to limit your fluid intake, double check with your doctor how much water you should drink.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet based on the recommendations in Canada's Food Guide. Eating healthy ensures your body has the energy it needs to exercise.
  • Wait at least 3-4 hours after eating a large meal before doing any physical activity. If you’ve had something light, you should wait 1-2 hours before exercising.

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